Coachella has always flexed its muscle as one of the world’s most influential music festivals by booking big-name reunions and comeback shows that fans can’t see anywhere else. The desert fest hosted the reunion of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (and the now-fabled 2Pac hologram) in 2012 and the return of Outkast in 2014. Prince melted faces off in 2008 when he was a last-minute add to the lineup, which also included Roger Waters and Kraftwerk.
Around 2017, promoter Goldenvoice began moving away from these kinds of mega-watt reunions and glitzy legacy acts — a long-established part of the Coachella brand — in favor for global pop stars with bookings like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande and Harry Styles. An attempt at a classic Coachella reunion had a false start with the attempted Rage Against the Machine headlining set in 2020 canceled (along with the rest of the festival) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other legacy artists, meanwhile, were re-allocated to 2016’s Desert Trip and 2023’s Power Trip, which Goldenvoice also hosted at the Empire Polo Club and targeted older demographics with artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Metallica and Tool — any of whom in previous years could have been Coachella headliners.
But Coachella has never completely abandoned this booking strategy, and the 2024 lineup suggests a renewed interest to lean that way.
This lineup, announced Wednesday, features a healthy dose of ‘90s alt-rock alums with No Doubt, Sublime and Deftones, who this year feel newly minted as legacy acts with the prestige brought by a splashy Coachella appearance. (Even if in some cases, they have been consistently touring and/or recording for decades.)
As Coachella ages — now with 25 years of experience under its belt — so too has nostalgia for newer eras of music ready to be mined for bookings. This year’s embrace of ‘90s/Y2K artists had a successful test case in 2023, when Coachella added a reunited classic-lineup Blink-182 to the bill the day before the festival began. The success of that booking — the trio, which hadn’t played together since 2015 and which packed the massive Sahara Tent and then became the weekend two Sunday night headliners after Frank Ocean dropped out — demonstrated an appetitive for millennial nostalgia among attendees.
As Goldenvoice has done deftly in years past, with this through line Coachella has delivered on a demand that only recently taken form. The recent re-mainstreaming of alt-rock and guitar music in general through crossover artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Machine Gun Kelly likely played a part. And with generally fewer proven modern acts of their size to assemble lineups from, the allure of recognizable past hitmakers is greater than it has been in a long time.
Here are the acts Coachella 2024 is putting forward to satisfy this historic element of the lineup.
The reunion in the biggest font of the 2024 lineup is No Doubt, the Orange County-born and bred ska-punk/alt-pop band whose breakout album, Tragic Kingdom, was released nearly 30 years ago. The group – Gwen Stefani, Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young – haven’t played together since 2015, and the buzz around this reunion reflects how important they are to the now older millennial fanbase that grew up with them and their now-classic hits like “Just a Girl,” “Spiderwebs,” “Don’t Speak” and “Hella Good.” The festival’s location, roughly 100 miles from where the band got its start, perhaps made this reunion show particularly attractive for No Doubt — and will very likely amp up the excitement when they take the stage.
Sublime has toured extensively with singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez since 2009, after singer and founding member Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose in 1996. This reformed act, billed as Sublime With Rome, had a shakeup at the end of 2023, when it was announced the Nowell’s son Jakob would begin singing for the band. This addition of the younger Nowell likely made a Sublime booking very attractive to Coachella, with the group’s inclusion also helping create a 2024 lineup narrative around ‘90s alt-rock — particularly that from Southern California, with Sublime hailing from Long Beach, not far from where No Doubt came up in Anaheim.
The ’90s revival is strengthened with the Deftones, with the band, like Sublime, getting prestigious second line billing. The group, which formed in Sacramento in 1988, is four years removed from their most recent album (2020’s Ohms), but has toured extensively over the last few years.
Coachella marks one of the alt-metal band’s biggest-ever shows and also serves as belated validation for the group and their once-deride genre, with frontman Chino Moreno telling SPIN in 2016 that “Deftones has never been invited to play Coachella, and I would love to play Coachella. But I honestly feel like there are things like that where we’re still considered to be a nu-metal band to some people, and it’s just not cool enough.”
Blur was a major player when Coachella did its Britpop revival year in 2013, with the group headlining alongside The Stone Roses. But this show may be more of a high-profile farewell from the group, which released its first studio album in eight years last July. Last year, Damon Albarn announced that he was done with the band, telling the French publication Les Inrockuptibles that “It is time to wrap up this campaign, It’s too much for me. It was the right thing to do and an immense honor to play these songs again, spend time with these guys, make an album, blah-blah-blah.” Coachella is currently the only show the band has announced for 2024.
Taking Back Sunday
The Long Island-bred ‘00s emo heroes toured extensively over the last few years and released a new album in 2023. But Taking Back Sunday‘s Coachella appearance will arguably create a new level of cachet for the band, while also contributing to the lineup’s alt-revival through line.
The French electronic duo helped forge the bloghouse era of the mid-aughts with their 2007 album Cross, and should thus still hit the same nostalgia pleasure-centers for many of the older millennial attendees. (As will fellow of-the-era electronic artists coming back via Coachella 2024 like fellow French producer Gessafelstein, who’s been off the road since 2019, and the reunion of U.K. dubstep pioneers Skream & Benga.)
Justice – Gaspard Augé and Xavier Rosnay – have been largely quiet since winning the 2019 Grammy for best dance/electronic album, but are on the comeback trail in 2024, teasing new music this month and announcing on Instagram that “We’ll kick off this tour at Coachella where we played our very first live show in 2007.” The group has played Coachella five times in the last 17 years and is set to release an album this year.